The Sabian symbol for the lunar degree of this month's full moon in Scorpio is "A dentist at work". This week we celebrate the Taurus Solar Festival of Wesak, the birthday of Gautama Buddha.
Dentists and I have a long and checkered history. As a child, up until my permanent teeth came in, I was constantly in the dentist’s chair – a combination of hereditary trouble with my primary teeth and too much ‘good living’. As a result, I came to dread visits to the dentist, half-yearly or otherwise. Then, when I was a teenager and all the permanent teeth had finally arrived I found to my consternation that I would need braces for four years. Ugghh! As a teenager, I was devastated.
My dentist when I was a child was a kindly man and a family friend. His daughter was a student of my father and both my mom and dad had pretty bad teeth, which I inherited. My dentist was delighted to see the Artley clan arrive! He made a lot of money from us. I remember my numerous visits to him very clearly. He had the syringe for numbing the mouth hanging in alcohol in plain view. I used to look at it with a sense of foreboding as he would work on me and hope and pray it would not be used that session. Unfortunately, I got more than my share of it.
He was a smoker, too, which eventually killed him. Back in those days the dangers of smoking were not so much in the fore of people’s minds, though. I remember his breath, and the smell of cigarettes hung in his clothes. Needless to say, my memories of the dentist were anything other than fond. To this day I get nervous going to have dental work done and avoid it if I can. Needless to say, as well, I learned through it all to take very good care with my teeth. Thankfully, my permanent teeth are good.
Hobart Perdue (my childhood dentist) was a champion wrestler in his days at university. He was a presence when he walked into the room. My dad made certain in my teenage years that I knew he was a wrestler – in case I got any ideas, you know? Whenever I sat in the chair there at his practice and after cleaning my teeth he would get his dental probe and wrap his arm around my head and start poking away at my teeth, looking for the usual suspects, all the time asking me how I had been and how I was doing at school – all the time holding my head firmly in place. There was no escape, no getting away from the karma of my middle class fast-food-and-candy-after-school lifestyle. I can still hear him breathing through his nose to this day, still smell the cigarettes.
Then, it would happen – his probe would find a spot, hit its mark, and out would come the dreaded drill bits. Hopefully I would escape the syringe if the ‘place’ (as he called it) was not too big or deep. He was careful, though, very concerned if I felt any pain and very skillful, and thankfully quick. Really, if I look back on it he rarely used the needle unless I asked for it or if the ‘place’ was too far gone. I have had many comments from dentists after him on how fine his work was. Aside from being a champion wrestler he was also obviously a champ as a dentist. I will never forget the hold he would have on my head, though, and be forever grateful for the work he did on my teeth, though I will cringe at the memory of many of my visits there to the day I pass from this world.
Hobart had to have had some Taurus in his nature, though he was a Capricorn. He was bulky - solid. He exuded ‘Taurean-ness’. He was not a man to be trifled with, yet he was comforting and caring, all the while liking his own comforts. When he sat in a chair across from you his power as a man was palpable, yet looking back on him he had a sensitivity to people that was no less apparent. Considering the preceding, this story line brings us to the considerations for the Taurean interval this year, for Taurus is often a contradiction in terms to many people. Taureans are often seen as strong, yet vulnerable; bull-headed, yet overly sensitive; seemingly thick by ordinary appearances, yet possessed often of the greatest insights into people and life; ruled by their desires, yet capable of the greatest of spiritual effort when called upon to do so. There is no other sign that can exude power – willfulness – in the way that Taurus can, yet it is a sign that is marked by the clearest of insights.
Most Taureans I know have an uncanny ability to know exactly what to do and when, to know the path that should be taken in any given circumstance, so long as they are not guided by their desires in a given matter. If it is desire or emotion that guides a Taurean, then they unfailingly make the wrong decision and can make a disaster of their lives. I have seen it happen many times. However, if they are guided by their wisdom, then they are unfailingly correct. The probe of their mind always seems to find its mark and their wisdom eye lights the way for all who seek their advice or follow the Taurean’s course.
However, desire is strong in Taurean types (Sun and/or Ascendant in the sign) and that is the one area of life that will produce crisis in the life of Taurus. Sooner or later, every Taurean type has to make a choice, especially if Taurus is the Sun-sign: “Do I opt for material comfort and/or security and the satisfaction of my worldly desires – sex, food, money, sensual pleasures, etc., - or do I turn my back on the things and sensations of the world and work toward what will give me true happiness – happiness far into the future (meaning at least many lifetimes into the future)?”
Every Taurean type if they are at all spiritually inclined must at some point learn the folly of worldly satisfaction as an end game or goal. One of my teachers once told me, “Be content, but never satisfied. Satisfaction only breeds discontent and stops one’s progress.” To be frank, many people equate ‘contentment’ with ‘accepting second-best’. That is not at all the case and the distinction is certainly what my teacher was trying to get across to me. Contentment, as he would call it, is not at all about accepting one’s lot, about taking lesser options. Rather, it is more about sensing that one is on the right track with things, that one is doing what one can in the moment, and that what is needed to reach one’s goals is steadily being provided.
The one catch in this is that the ‘goal’ in this case is not for affairs of this life or any other life for that matter. Instead, the goal is release from the thrall of the illusions we think are pleasures. Taurus is the sign that leads us from darkness into Light, and the Light it conveys is the Light of the Path itself. The ‘path’ referred to in this context is actually the method which frees us from the bondage of our karma in all of its ramifications, bad and good.
Taurus, at the apex of its work with the humanity of this world, leads one to a certain attainment, the nature of which is held in the words:
I see, and when the eye is opened, all is full of light.
The fullness of the experience of the more or less permanent opening of the wisdom eye (for that is what the ‘eye of the Bull’ actually represents) is a very specific milestone on the road to enlightenment. Taurus leads us to the very portal of the first true initiatory experience, the first full direct experience (beyond all human thought and conception) of the clear light (the light of the higher nature), the Transfiguration experience or Initiation.
From then on one is firmly on the bodhisattva grounds and full enlightenment is virtually guaranteed. Once one has a direct experience of the light of the higher nature – the primordial Mind, the Essence, Monad, Buddha-nature, Emptiness, Spirit – call it what you will, then life is changed forever. The festival of Wesak is intimately associated with the buddha of our present era (Shakyamuni), but more than that it is connected with the spiritual will that will eventually lead us to what Taurus really represents – the full illumination of the path for all whom we seek to help – the clear way to full enlightenment, and to step onto that path is to let go of any and all ordinary (worldly and conceptual) attachments and appearances. The only ‘desire’ after such an experience is to be of service, to relieve the suffering of all beings.
Taurus is a sign of great promise and its associated spiritual festival is the most powerful of the year. It has been stated in past letters, but at the time of the full moon of Taurus (May full moon), Buddha Shakyamuni is said to return to our world and bestow a blessing, but he is only supposedly here for eight minutes at the time of the actual full moon. I have no way of verifying that from my end, but I can definitely say from my own experience of past Taurus festivals that it is always indeed a powerful interval. There is always some blessing in it for me and I have heard many people report the same for themselves. The Taurus festival is, shall we say, unforgettable, and in a way that no other full moon can match. Something is always revealed and something else is always shaken loose, whatever that is being unique to every group and individual. It hammers us, yet it is balm for troubled lives. It frees us in some way from our own demons and worst enemy – ourselves.
The full moon of Wesak takes place on 28 April 2010 at 8:18 AM EST. The chart speaks a great deal about happiness and the road to that happiness, but most especially the obstacles to that in this case.
The Wesak period this year sets the tone for some rather interesting astrology coming in the months of mid-year. We will see a t-square formed on three of the four Aries points by Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, which is actually taking shape now, a much more potent version of the same when the three aforementioned planets are joined at those angles by Venus, Mars and Jupiter from the last of July through the first part of August, culminating in a Great Cross (sometimes called a ‘cosmic cross’) with its completion by the Moon on the 7th of August.
There will be a powerful eclipse at 5º Cancer on 26 Jun. In addition, there will be some rather striking septile patterns formed from late September through mid-October, culminating in a beautiful interlocked pattern on the 29th of that month, with a septile triangle pretty much pervading that entire period (more on that in another letter). There is enormous quintile activity throughout most of May (next month) adding greatly to the creative potential of this Wesak period, but also to world instability throughout that period. Later on Saturn forms a bi-quintile with Chiron and Neptune from late July through mid-September, which will bring its share of positive disillusionment and a reevaluation and consequent creative restructuring of ideals and relationships.
Regarding happiness, the symbol for the solar degree reads as follows:
A fully decorated Christmas tree. 9 Taurus
Christmas would hardly be associated with the Wesak period upon first glance, Christmas being largely associated with winter, Capricorn and festivity. However, in this case what is being considered with this symbol is twofold: desire for happy times and the gloss that is often put over as ordinary appearances. Dane Rhudyar associates this symbol with faith in cyclic renewal and the ability to create inner happiness in dark hours, as he terms it.
There are two inferences from this symbol that would seem to be of real importance here. Firstly, Christmas in the West is more associated with desire and the fulfillment of one’s wishes these days than with the true spirit of Christmas – giving out of a true sense of generosity. Secondly, one gets the sense that all the decoration of the tree has no real meaning in the context of the season. It is all trappings meant to appeal to the senses and to accentuate the participant’s sense of revelry in what is otherwise simply another day. Really, shouldn’t every day be like Christmas in the real spirit of things? Should we not all be generous all the time and fully celebrate life with our fellows?
The real crux of this symbol comes down to a very Taurean issue or dynamic – the interweaving of desire with one’s progress on the path. What is it that ultimately brings us happiness? Is it the satiation of our desires, worldly fulfillment or is it something much more sublime? For most people the road to release from the great cycle of lives comes only after a very protracted cycle of lives wherein the karma of the desire nature is fully played out.
However, for a relative few compared to the great bulk of humanity, desire is used as a catalyst to accelerate the processes of spiritual evolution and as a way to cut off desires (baser desires) at their root. In Buddhism this is called ‘taking desire onto the path’ and is the basis for all of the four classes of tantra. Perhaps what we need in this interval and throughout this year is to use our desires to bring us to a point where we can move past them, which is what ‘taking desire onto the path’ is about in a way.
The symbol for the lunar degree of this month's full moon speaks a lot of the results of our desires wrongly pursued, and reads as follows:
A dentist at work. 9 Scorpio
As I said at the start of this letter, I spent a lot of time in the dentist’s chair in my childhood and, like most of us, I know full well what this symbol means: Look after your endowments, hereditary or karmic, or suffer the consequences. If we do have to suffer consequences, see it as medicine and know that we have exhausted some portion of our negative karma. The drill might be uncomfortable, but would we rather suffer a toothache later?
I think Dane Rhudyar quite rightly equated this symbol with overcoming the negative results of our cravings and social practices. Having worked on a long litany of broken machinery through most of my adult life, for example, I have a lot of stories to tell about what happens when one does not give proper care to what is provided in order to perform one’s duties. One cannot push the limits of things without expecting consequences after a time. In physics, too, there is a law that states, “Entropy is ever-increasing.” In the physical world, this is true – everything eventually wears out and passes on to obscurity. It is only ever the spirit of things or beings that lives on after the fact.
Mars squares the Sun and the Moon in this chart, forming a t-square, which is quite a chaotic sort of dynamic and one which will indeed have the capacity to push people past their boundaries or limitations. That will bring the tensions necessary to make us confront the consequences of our overindulgences or wrong use of resources, but also to push us toward something better, more harmonious.
The thing that stands out the most to me with the melding of these two symbols is the fact that we have been living under the illusion of material security in the West and that under the impulse and impress of this Wesak period as the months and years unfold we may well have to make ‘adjustments’ for the enjoyments of our western affluence, especially those of the past fifty years. We should keep in mind that, even though an astrological event takes place in a moment, relatively speaking, its effects are often felt years into the future. The Taurus full moon this year especially marks a turning point in the working out of world karma.
Underlying all the activity mentioned in the previous paragraphs we have Saturn and Uranus both activating the 22 September 2006 eclipse point, which was on an Aries point (0º Libra), both separately and at the same time at various times from the present through to March of next year. So far that opposition has brought about civil unrest in Thailand, the crash which killed a significant number of the Polish government (the September 06 eclipse was on the Mercury of the current constitution of that country, Mercury being associated with transport and air disasters), the Qinghai earthquake (Kham region of Tibet) and the current amazing scenes of the volcanic ash cloud over Europe, which could conceivably go on for months off and on. Saturn and Uranus across that eclipse point will bring sweeping change and with Pluto squaring off between the two we can expect change to come in a big way. So, what exactly will all this activity bring about?
The last time we saw these big three – Saturn, Uranus and Pluto – all at Aries points at the same time was in 1761. Did the Earth shake and civilization come to an end? Well, no, but that period did bring on something that has changed world societies dramatically and in a very short space of time, comparatively speaking – the Industrial Revolution.
Saturn is structure, both structures from the past and new structures being developed. Saturn also represents planning and karmic necessity. Uranus rules technology and all things new. Pluto changes the shape of society and wipes away the old orders, so with the combination of the three planets working in concert we could see that there was definitely some movement afoot at the time that would bring sweeping change to the world, which it did. That period also sowed the seeds of revolution in the world, and we have the same sorts of dynamics at work now. With these points in mind, what new structures will be put in place? What old orders will die away? How will our lives be changed in the years to come as a result of all this marvelous astrological activity? Certain things are apparent with regard to those questions if we take time to look.
To begin with, we are going to have to change our energy sources. We were told today here in Australia that we could expect to be paying $2.00/liter for gas (petrol) in a year’s time due to demands and shortfalls. In all likelihood the price of oil will never fall to its previous levels and only looks set to rise. Crisis is coming in the transport and energy sectors and in a few short years. Growth cannot be sustained at its current rates with the finite resources we have. So, new modes of transport and smarter use of resources will have to be developed. One phrase that comes to mind with the three planets under consideration is, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Earth changes will intensify due to the shifts in temperatures we are seeing. Weather patterns will get wilder. Keep in mind as we go through these factors that we do not need to go into doom and gloom. We simply have to be smarter about things. Yes, life will be more stressful while we go through these changes, but it does not have to be cataclysmic.
Here is a little Saturn/Uranus/Pluto wrinkle: What would happen with the environment if the world suddenly stopped using oil? If the world was not on an oil-based regime, what would become of global warming? Would it begin to reverse itself? If there were epidemics among animals and people suddenly had to change their diets, for instance, what would happen? It is said that a third of the world’s greenhouse gases come from cattle. If you think I am being fanciful here, consider that fact that 150 years ago people relied on horses and coal-fired trains to get them to and fro, for instance. The internal combustion engine changed everything in a short space of time.
What if we happened on another discovery that enabled us to wean ourselves from oil? I tell you it can and probably will happen. There is, as the Master Djwhal Khul stated, a ‘great saving force’ which we have yet to realize. Look for developments from the CERN Collider to be a catalyst there. As much as some people might like to, we will never go back to horse and buggy days. The elite and the middle classes would never allow it. We, as a species, have imagination and the spark of the divine in us. Privation and limitation make us think, make us strive to overcome those limitations, and we will. Expect new and revolutionary technology to emerge in the coming decade. That is what I expect from the Wesak blessing this year, though it will likely not surface for several more years. I have a sense that the world in the next fifty years will be as foreign to us now as the world of today would have been to those who lived through WWII.
I do not see a single or major cataclysmic event coming that will bring the world to its knees in the coming years. I do not see the return of the dark ages. I am more optimistic than that and more aware of the potential of human beings to overcome difficulties in a positive manner.
There is growing talk on the internet of the coming ‘Cosmic Cross’ of August 7th this year. What will it mean, people ask? Well, the world didn’t end when we had the ‘big three’ on Aries points in 1761. We got smarter instead, and we eventually overthrew repressive regimes. That period presaged the world of wonder that we live in today. What is it that most oppresses people today? Is it government? Not nearly to the extent it was in the 1700s. No, I think what most oppresses people these days is financial in nature. Big money controls the power structures in the world today – big pharma, multinationals, the banking sector, so on and so forth. It is there that the revolution needs to come. Take away a person’s care about basic necessities and they are then able to progress spiritually and materially. We stand poised on the verge of a new day, in a manner of speaking. All we need are the crises necessary to push us through the door.
Tension leading to insight, creative use of resources, suddenly waking up to the fact that we do not have to do things in the established ways and that there are better ways of doing things, a door being opened to more subtle ways of seeing things, seeing things from a different perspective – these are the things we can expect from the astrology of the coming months, culminating at the last of June through to the start of August.
There are some brilliant old souls alive in the world now, with more coming along every day. I have every reason to feel optimistic about the times to come, although I have no illusions that things will be easy or that we will suddenly awake to a new world. Life doesn’t work that way. We all have to work ourselves out of the mess we are in, but we can do it. There is much talk about the ‘end of the world and 2012’. It is a lot of sensationalism and short on substance. What I see instead is a revolution in thought which will bring an end to the world as we know it now, much as the Industrial Revolution and the Renaissance brought an end to the Middle Ages and the world as it had been in the millennia previously. That is the promise I see in the ‘Cosmic Cross’, the present Wesak period and the present world period.
Aside from the aforementioned astrological markers and patterns over the next few months there are some other factors worthy of mention in the full moon figure itself.
Firstly, the Sun and Moon are applying to the square of Mars, the Sun exactly squaring it in a few days. Applying aspects always have more power and potential than separating ones, so the power of this full moon figure is waxing. Mars sesquisquares Uranus, adding to the energetic input and potential power of the figure. A octal-series rectangle is formed with the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, creating a unique sort of push-pull ‘feel’ to the chart.
People feel that ‘something is in the air’, that something is about to ‘let go’. For instance Jupiter and Saturn in aspect often highlight financial concerns (Jupiter is applying to the opposition with Saturn at the moment) and we see the investigation of Goldman Sachs in the US, the trumping of the release of the Apple I-phone, the movement of the Wal-Mart discrimination case toward a full-blown trial, the scrapping of the carbon trading scheme here in Australia because it is too expensive, financial losses from the volcano in Iceland, the downgrade of the Greek financial sector by Standard and Poors, and so forth. Tensions are building. People are coming undone if their lives are not on solid ground. Jupiter and Saturn together also speak of propriety and ethics. We will see public figures fall from grace under this transit. We just saw the resignation of the West Australian treasurer here is Oz following a set of tawdry revelations about his behavior.
We find a modified ‘Finger of the World’ triangle formed with Jupiter/Uranus at the apex and the Moon/Mars square at the base. This pattern defines a pressing social or evolutionary need that is highlighted by the action of the square. The Jupiter/Uranus apex is an indicator of the need for change in the arena of big business and government to a lesser extent. That conjunction is normally an indicator of sudden gains and organizational ability. However, it is opposed by Saturn, with Saturn also being virtually at the midpoint of the Moon/Mars square. The midpoint keywords point to a general feeling of frustration and of feeling ‘caught in the middle’. Moon/Mars squares highlight a big push toward getting one’s needs met, but with Saturn in the mix the drive is generally thwarted or modified toward caution at the least. This combination of planets will bring some most unexpected outcomes in the world of finance and thus government.
Let’s face it – governments are largely in bed with business and one cannot affect one without affecting the other. For instance, there is no love lost at the moment between Wall Street and the Obama administration and financial reform looms large in the spotlight of American politics. Look for a bumpy ride in the investment sector over the next year. Add to this the fact that Saturn is linked to Neptune by a quincunx and it is not difficult to see that this Wesak period is going to have a powerful impact on the financial sector. Wesak has an intimate relation to the governments of the world, the First Ray of will or power being most strongly expressed by Taurus. The general feel of the chart this year is one of ‘something has to give’. Change must come and better conditions must ensue.
Lastly, we see an ‘easy opposition’ between the full moon axis and Pluto, though a separating one. Still, though one can never really ignore Pluto for very long. Venus, the mundane ruler of Taurus, is linked to Pluto in this chart, and that says to me that some fortunate alliances might be formed that will help to see us through the morass before us. In all, I would have to say this is one powerful and loaded chart, and one that will most definitely set changes in motion. We will be forced to address our lives and concerns. Really, it is needed and a good thing. We will see a lot of disillusionment, and that is a good thing as well. On the other side of that, though, we will see some rather startling and positive revelations come as a result of the impress of this full moon period. By all means, if you can, take time to meditate at the time of the full moon today. I think you will be glad you did, even though you may not note anything at the time.
Any homeowner or householder can tell you that things always feel better around the house after a good spring clean. Getting rid of dead wood, in a manner of speaking, always makes one feel lighter and ready to move forward into bigger and better things. Look on the next few months and years as a sort of planetary ‘spring clean’ and you will have a better idea of what is taking place on our little planetary home at the moment. Every evolutionary step forward always has an attendant process of purification. It can be uncomfortable at the time, but we are always the better for it if we can go with it and help the process along. The clarity we have at the end of the process is always worth the trouble.
Though I always loathed my visits to the dentist I was always happy after the fact to have gone through the process and to have a healthy dentition once again. Those visits often brought home the point of being more discerning about my health. We all know the old saying that we are what we eat. As a kid one doesn’t think so much about such matters – until the dental check-up comes around or the results of unhealthy diet tell on the body through discomfort or disease. It is sort of like the libertine who goes along in life looking out only after themselves and indulging in every guilty pleasure under the sun, only to cower in fear when the karmic bill comes due and thus be heard to cry, “Poor me! Poor me! I have been dealt a sorry lot in life!” when the sentence, justly administered, is handed out. It has always amazed me at how seldom people look at something so far-reaching and simple as the law of cause and effect and think to themselves that somehow they will escape it. There is no escape. Karma has us in a headlock. Having Saturn in aspect to Pluto in my own chart I learned that lesson the hard way and early on. It is so much easier and more fulfilling to work within the laws of nature and spirit than to rail against them and to think one is somehow getting one over on our kindly Mother Nature. Well, the bill is coming due. We will see who cries tears of blood as their world comes a cropper, as we say here.
There are times when I think of Hobart, the skill and care that he showed to me and our family. Most Taureans I know are highly skilled and sensitive people. His own bad habits came to call on him in the end, as they did my own mother (who was a Taurean), as they do for most of us, especially in the West. We do like our creature comforts. It is not to judge anyone as a person. I will have my own habits to answer for at some point.
Hopefully, the good we do as members of the larger community far outweigh our little indulgences and we go on to better and better reincarnations. Often, addictive habits are the only way we know to compensate for emotional wounds we do not know how to heal or do not want to face. It may be of interest to know that teeth say a lot about a person’s hereditary karma. I have no idea what my bad primary teeth say about me, save for the fact that I have felt driven to learn a lot about health and related maters this life, not because I have any certain conditions to overcome, but more so because it is in the back of my mind all the time. It interests me. Our karma is more often than not a springboard or catalyst for us to seek something better for ourselves – to find a happier state of mind, and most often we realize that such happiness is not found in worldly satisfaction. I hope that this Wesak period points toward of greater measure of happiness for us all, for now and in the years and lives to come.
Malvin Artley, Author & Esoteric Astrologer
Malvin Artley has been a practising astrologer for the past 10 years and is an accredited member of the American Federation of Astrologers. He is the author of "Bodies of Fire: An Exploration of the Lesser Chakra System". He has authored numerous articles and was a member of the faculty of the Universtiy of the Seven Rays, a non-profit organization dedicated to the teaching of the Trans-Himalaya tradition as expressed through the books of Alice Bailey, Helena Blavatsky and others. His primary focus over the past 25 years has been on the sciences as they express occultism and with bridging work between the two. His special interests are the human subtle energy system and all the chakras, or energy centres, physics and technology, astronomy and all aspects of Chinese occultism. He now lives in Adelaide, South Australia.
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